Don't forget Cochi as an LNG hub

Vol 4, PW 11 (05 Jul 00) Midstream & Downstream

If you think Petronet-LNG has quietly forgotten its commitment to build a 2.5m tonnes a year (t/y) LNG facility at the port of Cochi in Kerala - think again! On a visit to Kerala on 24th June, oil secretary and Petronet-LNG chairman Subbaram Narayan reconfirmed the company's commitment to the project.

Narayan told a 'meet the press' session organised by the Thiruvananthapuram press club that an LNG terminal at Cochi would be completed by the first quarter of 2004 - one year ahead of schedule. He added that contracts for the construction of LNG facilities at Cochi would be awarded this year and that he hoped work could begin by January next year.

Narayan further confirmed plans to construct a gas pipeline from Cochi to Mangalore in Karnataka - running up the west coast. He gave no indication if the pipeline would be a government sponsored effort or a collaboration with the private sector.

According to Narayan, the cost of the LNG terminal would be at least Rs1,800cr ($420m) and the cost of the pipeline at least Rs800cr ($180m). Narayan's statement on Cochi reflects his commitment to move the focus of India's LNG industry away from the west coast to southern and eastern India.

"Concentrating all our energies in the western part of the country is not good," he told a one-day LNG seminar in Delhi on 18th April, "I feel that if LNG is taken to the southern part of India and to the eastern and central parts, these regions would prosper. Feasibility studies of Cochi port have identified Puthuvypeen Island as the best location for the LNG terminal.

Puthuvypeen Island is near the approach channel for the port and suitable for deeper draft vessels.